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Kazbek Tambi Names U.S. Roster For 2008 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup in New Zealand

CHICAGO (October 14, 2008) – U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team head coach Kazbek Tambi has named the 21-player roster that will represent the United States at the 2008 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, being held Oct. 28-Nov. 16 in New Zealand.

The historic tournament, which will mark the first-ever world championship for women at the U-17 level, will feature 16 nations divided into four groups of four teams each. The age cutoff for the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is players born on or after January 1, 1991. Tambi’s squad features 17 players born in 1991, three born in 1992 and one born in 1993.

The U.S. team was drawn into Group C, which also features Japan, France and Paraguay. The U.S. will play its first two group matches at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, opening the tournament on Oct. 30 against Japan before facing Paraguay on Nov. 2. The U.S. moves to Auckland for the third group match on Nov. 5, facing France at North Harbour Stadium.

“I’m really thrilled that we are at this point, making final selections,” said Tambi, who coached the core of this team during 2007 with the U.S. U-16 Girls’ National Team before moving with them to the U-17 level. “I’ve looked at hundreds of players over the past couple of years and I think it’s been a fair and thorough process. The support given by U.S. Soccer has been excellent and I’ve had more than enough camps to evaluate players. There were several players that were just outside this group who could have made the final roster so it was difficult to make those last few choices, but it’s great to have our World Cup team set.”

The U-17s feature a slew of talented attacking personalities, including sisters Kristen and Samantha Mewis, who have combined for 13 international goals out of the midfield. Kristen, a flank midfielder, is a year older but three inches shorter than Samantha, who patrols the center of the park for Tambi.

The U.S. will bring some dangerous forwards to New Zealand in 5-foot-9-inch Courtney Verloo (eight goals in eight international matches), Vicki DiMartino, the younger sister of 2006 U.S. U-20 Women’s World Cup team member Tina, and Hawaiian Tani Costa.

The U.S. back line, which helped limit opponents to just 10 goals in 18 matches this year, is anchored by Cloee Colohan as well as fierce marking backs Amber Brooks and Crystal Dunn. Goalkeepers Alexa Gaul and Taylor Vancil have shared most of the minutes in the U.S. nets during 2008.

The Americans head to New Zealand on Oct. 23 carrying a 16-1-1 record this year, including 8-0-0 in international matches. Only three players named to the squad are uncapped at the U-17 level. Tambi will also bring a tall, physical team to the Women’s World Cup with 11 players standing 5 feet 7 inches or taller.

“My hope is that when we take the field, we’ll demonstrate strength in all the major aspects of the game,” said Tambi. “That includes the physical dimension, which is what the Americans are traditionally known for, but my hope is that this group will be a more possession-oriented team and will play a brand of attacking soccer that will be fun for the players to play and the spectators to watch, and one that will make America proud.”

The 21-player squad features players from 15 different states including three each from California and Illinois and two each from New York and Massachusetts.

The U.S. U-17s are currently finishing up their final training camp before departing for New Zealand. The team has been encamped in New Jersey since Oct. 9, putting the final touches on its World Cup preparations.

“Now we can just focus on the team concept, rather than having the players worry about making the squad,” said Tambi. “The focus becomes the group before the individual, which is very important if we are going to have success at this World Cup.”

2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup – New Zealand
No. Player Pos. Ht. Birthdate Hometown Youth Club/High School U-17 Caps / Goals
1 Gaul, Alexa GK 5-7 05/15/91 Naperville, Ill. Eclipse Select / Neuqua Valley 5
2 Harris, Alexis D 5-6 12/06/91 Plano, Texas Dallas Texans / Plano West 5 / 1
3 Brooks, Amber D 5-6 01/23/91 New Hope, Pa. Arsenal World Class / The Pennington School 10 / 4
4 Dunn, Crystal D 5-1 07/03/92 Rockville Center, N.Y. Albertson Fury, South Side 8 / 1
5 Tymrak, Erika M 5-5 08/07/91 Bradenton, Fla. IMG Soccer Academy / Edison Academic Center 6 / 0
6 Colohan, Cloee D 5-8 06/01/91 West Point, Utah Black Diamond SC / Syracuse 11 / 0
7 Verloo, Courtney F 5-9 05/09/91 Tualatin, Ore. FC Portland Sapphire / Tualatin 8 / 8
8 DiMartino, Victoria F 5-5 09/04/91 Massapequa, N.Y. Albertson Fury / Massapequa 8 / 4
9 Johnson, Samantha F 5-5 06/10/91 Palmdale, Calif. Real So Cal / Highland 4 / 1
10 Mewis, Kristen M 5-8 02/25/91 Hanson, Mass. SC Scorpions / Whitman Hanson 10 / 7
11 Mewis, Samantha M 5-11 10/09/92 Hanson, Mass. SC Scorpions / Whitman Hanson 8 / 6
12 Costa, Tani F 5-8 09/27/91 Honolulu, Hawaii Leahi Premier / Kalani 5 / 5
13 Roberts, Julia D 5-9 02/07/91 Fredrick, Md. McLean Freedom / Urbana 8 / 1
14 Laddish, Mandy M 5-7 05/13/92 Lee's Summit, Mo. Blue Valley Stars / Lee's Summit 0 / 0
15 Bennett, Kate M 5-4 12/03/91 Clyde Hill, Wash. Crossfire Premier / Vellevue 4 / 1
16 Brian, Morgan M 5-7 02/26/93 St. Simons Island, Ga. Ponte Vedra SC / Frederica Academy 3 / 1
17 Quon, Rachel D 5-2 05/21/91 Lake Forest, Ill. Eclipse Select / Lake Forest 2 / 0
18 Vancil, Taylor GK 5-7 05/18/91 South Elgin, Ill. Eclipse Select / St. Charles North 3
19 Eddy, Elizabeth M 5-5 09/13/91 Costa Mesa, Calif. SC Blues / Calvary Chapel 0 / 0
20 Klei, Olivia M 5-6 03/20/91 Pleasanton, Calif. Pleasanton Rage / Foothill 10 / 1
21 Pettigrew, Jennifer GK 5-9 06/22/91 Kearney, N.J. Arsenal World Class / Kearney 0

GOALKEEPERS (3): Alexa Gaul (Naperville, Ill.), Jennifer Pettigrew (Kearney, N.J.), Taylor Vancil (South Elgin, Ill.);
DEFENDERS (6): Amber Brooks (New Hope, Pa.), Cloee Colohan (West Point, Utah), Crystal Dunn (Rockville Center, N.Y.), Alexis Harris (Plano, Texas), Rachel Quon (Lake Forrest, Ill.), Julia Roberts (Fredrick, Md.);
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kate Bennett (Clyde Hill, Wash.), Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.), Elizabeth Eddy (Costa Mesa, Calif.), Olivia Klei (Pleasanton, Calif.), Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Kristie Mewis (Hanson, Mass.), Samantha Mewis (Hanson, Mass.), Erika Tymrak (Bradenton, Fla.);
FORWARDS (4): Tani Costa (Honolulu, Hawaii), Vicki DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Samantha Johnson (Palmdale, Calif.), Courtney Verloo (Tualatin, Ore.).

Team Staff:
Head Coach: Kazbek Tambi Paramus, N.J.
Asst. Coach: Osborne Carter New York, N.Y.
GK Coach: Amy Griffin Seattle, Wash.
Scout: Mike Dickey Louisville, Ky.
Team Doctor: Sheila Algan Oklahoma City, Okla.
Athletic Trainer: Sean McNeil Chicago, Ill.
Equipment Coordinator: Gabe Vogler Minneapolis, Minn.
Massage Therapist: Allison Griffith Charleston, S.C.
Team Coordinator: Amy Colquhoun Long Beach, Calif.
Team Security: Butch Hummel Orlando, Fla.
Videographer: Mike Alosi Boulder, Colo.
Press Officer: Aaron Heifetz Cypress, Calif.